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SG Haze: Developers take precautions

Property Here - Friday, June 21, 2013

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Singapore's property developers are closely monitoring the haze situation that has seen the city-state blanketed in smoke from forest fires in Indonesia for much of the week.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached a record high of 401 at noon on Friday lunchtime – putting air quality in the city-state will into the “hazardous” range.

Chng Kiong Huat, Executive Director, Property Services, Far East Organization, toldPropertyGuru: “In view of the poor air quality conditions, Far East Organization is working closely with our partner contractors to conduct thorough risk assessments of all on-going projects. 

“We consider the health and safety of our construction partners an important priority and support all contingency and mitigation measures to protect the construction workforce from the unhealthy levels of pollutants rendered by the haze. 

He added that possible measures being considered include issuance of protective masks and the imposition of stop work orders if the air quality persists at the very unhealthy level. 

“Together with our partner contractors, we will continue to monitor the situation and implement the necessary safety measures as recommended,” he said.

A spokesperson for CapitaLand said: “CapitaLand is closely monitoring PSI readings to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of our staff, tenants, shoppers and serviced residence guests are safeguarded. 

“The Group is making appropriate masks available to all its 1,960 staff in Singapore and has informed them of precautionary measures. Staff at all of our properties have also been briefed to advise our tenants, shoppers and guests on these precautionary measures.

“To ensure that the Group responds to such contingencies in a timely and effective manner, CapitaLand Group managers are empowered to assess and allow staff to work from home when the need arises. 

“At our worksites, we have worked closely with our main contractors and sub-contractors and stepped up vigilance over workers’ health, safety and well-being. Besides briefings on precautionary measures, we are working with our contractors to ensure that appropriate masks are issued. We have also stopped work temporarily when visibility is affected and at some parts of our projects that are under construction.” 

A spokesperson for City Developments Ltd (CDL) said: “In response to the worsening haze conditions, CDL has issued an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) alert to all our builders to remind them to be vigilant and to comply with all advisories and guidelines issued by the relevant government agencies including the National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Manpower. 

“The builders are to monitor the situation closely and must conduct risk assessments to take the necessary EHS measures to protect the welfare of their workers on the worksite which is a top priority.

“CDL employees have also been activated to keep a close surveillance on all worksites to monitor the situation. 

CDL has advised all its builders to take appropriate protection measures which include the provision of masks, identification of more vulnerable employees, e.g. those with heart or lung problems, avoiding non critical outdoor works involving high physical effort, assessing the exposure of outdoor works depending on PSI level as well as implementing more rest rotations. 

“With poorer visibility, there is also more safety monitoring onsite,” the spokesperson added,

A spokesperson for the Housing Development Board (HDB) confirmed that its contractors are required to abide by Ministry of Manpower guidelines. HDB is continuing to monitor the situation closely, the spokesperson added.

 

Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email andrew@allproperty.com.sg